Justice for Cornelius

On May 1, 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick died after being restrained for throwing a sandwich at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, MI, which is run by a national for-profit company Sequel Youth and Family Services. Such egregious use of force and tragic loss of life is appalling. Cornelius’s life mattered. 

Cornelius's death at a Sequel facility highlights the harms faced by youth at for-profit facilities.  Years of experience with for-profit juvenile and adult facilities shows privatization often leads to a variety of harmful outcomes, such as dangerous conditions, incentives to incarcerate kids longer, and prioritizing profits over public safety.

We have demanded:

  • Sequel must leave Michigan, and no for-profit facilities should be allowed to own or manage facilities for youth;

  • The community should lead decision-making about whether to close and/or re-purpose Lakeside;

  • Youth who ran away from the facility in the aftermath should not be punished;

  • All investigations into the incident should be public record; and,

  • A state-level position, such as juvenile justice ombudsman, should be created to provide greater oversight of private facilities and ensure accountability.


- On June 18th, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began the process of removing Lakeside's license.

- On June 20th, Governor Whitmer released a statement condemning the acts of those involved with Cornelius's death, and demanding Sequel be removed from Lakeside.


We are thankful for this progress and continue to work on removing Sequel from Michigan's child-caring facilities. 

Op-Ed by Hazelette Crosby-Robinson, MCYJ's Board President

Detroit Free Press - 6/25/20

Death of Cornelius Frederick exposes deep changes needed in child welfare system

Related Articles

NBC News- 7/23/20

The brief life of Cornelius Frederick: Warning signs missed before teen's fatal restraint

Detroit Free Press- 7/9/20

Case of Black teen who died after being restrained at Kalamazoo facility is 'under review'

Vice- 7/9/20

New Video Shows 7 Youth-Home Staffers Restraining a Black Boy Who Died a Few Days Later

Wood TV- 7/8/20

911 call: Lakeside teen ‘unresponsive’ after deadly restraint

NYTimes - 6/22/20

Lawsuit: Teen Screamed 'I Can't Breathe' During Restraint

WWMT - 6/20/20

Demonstrators: Cornelius Fredericks's death exemplifies broken system

KSTP - 6/19/20

Community leaders call for change within Minnesota juvenile justice system after Michigan death

WWMT - 6/19/20
Report: Lakeside staff member sat on teen's chest for more than 9 minutes during restraint

MPR News - 6/19/20
After boy’s death, Hennepin County finally severs ties with troubled facilities

AP News - 6/19/20

Teen’s death prompts facility’s loss of contract, license

USA Today - 5/15/20
Foster care teen's death draws scrutiny to group home outbreaks: Who is looking out for these children?

WWMT - 5/14/20

Justice group calls for closure of Kalamazoo facility where teenager died

WWMT - 5/08/20

Lakeside Academy criticized for its COVID-19 response

MLive - 5/07/20

Family of Lakeside Academy student seek answers about his death

Fox-17 - 5/07/20

Father worried about son’s well-being after he witnessed student's death

CW7 - 5/07/20

More than 30 students at Lakeside Academy test positive for COVID-19

WWMT - 5/06/20

Family lawyer: Lakeside Academy boy who died after being restrained 'didn't deserve this'

WKZO - 5/05/20

Residents pulled from Lakeside Academy following teen death; victim identified

Fox-17 - 5/05/20

‘Family doesn’t believe this was an accident’ says attorney of Lakeside teen who died last week

MLive - 5/01/20

Lakeside Academy was ‘out of control’ prior to student death, police say

WWMT - 5/02/20

MDHHS confirms investigation of Kalamazoo teen center following 16-year-old's death

WOOD TV-8 - 5/01/20

Records: Program where teen died has a history of violations

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©2020 by Michigan Center for Youth Justice

1679 Broadway Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48105